4 Ways to Carry Backpack Hydration

There's a hydration backpack for every type of athlete. Read about 4 current alternatives and the latest technology at STACK.com/Fitness.

Hydration Backpack

Hydration is key for any type of summer hiking, especially if you're heading out to a hot location, pushing yourself to train or trying to reach a summit. In general, you should be drinking approximately one liter of water for every hour of hiking. That can add up quickly, so finding the best way to carry water is helpful. Here are the latest and greatest methods hikers are using:

Reservoirs for Hiking Packs

These days It is tough to find a hiking pack that does not include a specially designed pocket to hold a reservoir of water. Reservoirs are hardy plastic bags designed to store a couple of liters of water, with connected tubing that travels through the backpack straps and rests close to your mouth for quick sips and easy hydration. Reservoir capacity is more common in larger hiking packs, most multi-day packs and popular brands like Osprey. Even smaller day packs are picking up on the trend. For long-term hydration, this is one of the easiest bets.

Dedicated Hydration Packs

A dedicated hydration pack is similar to a reservoir, but the entire backpack is designed to function as a reservoir. It typically comes with its own lining, plastic storage container, and a few extra pockets for odds and ends like keys and power bars. These dedicated packs are great if you are traveling in an especially hot, water-free area where you need to lug along 5 to 10 liters of water or more. They are especially popular among mountain bikers and hikers.

Water Pouches

Water pouches are a newer type of water bottle that replaces hard Nalgene plastic and metal with a soft plastic pouch. It may seem like a weird change, but these soft bottles offer some advantages. They cut down on weight, and when they are empty, you can fold them up and tuck them away, saving on space. They fit easily into any mesh water bottler holder that your pack may have.

Insulated Hydration

Insulated hydration bottles tend to have layered metal walls, making them heavy; however, they also offer a way to keep drinks cold all day long, or even preserve hot drinks for a nighttime hike. This trade-off may be worth it for a single-day hike or a drink that you really want to keep cold.

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